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Okay, so it’s not really a children’s book… but I’m looking for online study guides or learning activities for the book “Mosquito Coast” by Paul Theroux. Here’s one:

BookRags: The Mosquito Coast Summary

Or if you have any other ideas for alternatives to a traditional book report, please let me know! Thanks!

Well, considering it’s the last day of our Chinese New Year holidays, I thought I’d share the books we’ve been reading the last few weeks. We’ll start with Jaylene’s favorite.

Come to the party!

Come to the party – Celebrate Chinese Festivals by Suzanne Lauridsen and Sally Heinrich. ISBN 981-229-417-1 Publisher: Asiapac Books PTE LTD

We found this book to be the most similar to our own celebrations for each holiday. The illustrations are cute and we liked how Ling explains everything to her friend Max. Jaylene especially enjoyed the parts where Ling tells Max the stories about how the traditions began. The only concern I have is that there’s a lot of talk about ghosts and other potentially scary topics (Chu Yuan’s suicide comes to mind). While I think it’s important for Jaylene to be able to discuss them as they’re bound to come up with each celebration, it might be a bit much for someone who is not immersed in the culture.

Lanterns and firecrackers

Lanterns and Firecrackers – A Chinese New Year story. By Johnny Zucker and Jan Barger Cohen. ISBN 0-7641-2688-7 Publisher: Barron

A nice little book with cute illustrations. We didn’t get too into it for some reason, perhaps because Jaylene loved the “Come to the Party” one so much.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Kung-His Fa-Ts’ai bye Demi. ISBN: 0-517-88592-1 Publisher: Crown Publishers INC.

We read this a few times, well, portions of it. It’s a bit wordy. The illustrations are somewhat traditional and there isn’t an obvious story line. I bought it mainly for the wealth of information it holds. It gives simplified meanings for the various New Year plants, explains the symbolism behind the New Year foods and gives the names and responsibilities of the various deities involved. If I ever get around to making that countdown for Chinese New Year I’ll be working off a design from this book using the lunar cycle.

Chinese New Year's Dragon

Chinese New Year’s Dragon by Rachel Sing, illustrated by Shao Wei Liu. ISBN: 0-671-88602-9 Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks

There are beautiful illustrations in this one and a story that captivates the imagination. Jaylene really liked this one, but was a bit confused when they used Chinese Transliteration for some terms. My Chinese Zodiac animal is the dragon so I had to snap this book up, even though this is the year of the pig.

We’ll continue to read these books until Lantern festival is finished. Then when we take down our New Year decorations they’ll be packed away until next year. I’ll probably take out “Come to the Party” when the other festivals roll around because Jaylene enjoyed it so much.

Wish me well as I head back to work tomorrow. It’s been a month so perhaps I’ve forgotten all I need to know!

Library cards

Artsy Mama shared an online library card generator It’s so cool!

Here we are checking of the first item on our to do list:

I highly recommend these picture science books. The photos are awesome and the text is simple and clear to understand. They’re even better when you have props along. We used real strawberries, not sure what we’re going to do for the giraffe book.

Picture Science Series: Yum, yum! Strawberries!
Copyright: 1999 by Child Honsha Co., Ltd
Publisher: East & West Book Co.
ISBN: 986-7764-44-7

Well, Flickr is down, so I won’t be able to post about the art I originally planned on uploading, but now is a good time to share a couple of the books Jaylene has insisted on reading daily…


The first one is exciting for her because she can read it all by herself (now). It explains the basics of the day clearly and turning the flaps is always fun for her. She usually reads that one to me, and I read the next one.


This one is also delightful and Jaylene really gets into the rhyme scheme. I hear her reciting it as she goes about her tasks and play.

What is Valentine’s Day
By Harriet Xiefert
Text copyright: 2005 by Harriet Xiefert Inc
Illustrations copyright: 2005 by Claire Schumacher
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
ISBN: 1-4027-2016-5

Countdown to Valentine’s Day
By Jodi Huelin
Text copyright: 2002 by Price Stern Sloan
Illustrations copyright: 2002 by Steve Haskamp
Publisher: Price Stern Sloan (Penguin)
ISBN: 0-8431-4882-9
Amazon’s Concordance:

We’re really big on reading around here and I thought it would be fun to share informal reviews about some of our favorite books.

My daughter is an absolute angel and for the most part I won’t share otherwise to the world wide web. However, she is not perfect and recently we’ve been having some politeness issues to deal with. This book deals with this topic in a gentle and humorous way, without condemnation. I don’t like preachy kids books.

Children's Books - Manners

I haven’t asked Jaylene about her favorite page yet, but my guess is from the amount of giggles it gets, that it’s the one where Papa Bear has to do a lot of extra chores for neglecting to follow Mama Bear’s “Family Politeness Plan”. My favorite line from the book is from earlier on in the book:

“She tried going to Papa for help (though it sometimes seemed to Mama that he was part of the problem).”

I’ve actually quoted that line once or twice around the house and it has diffused some “tricky” situations with laughter (from Ahji!).

One of the crafty projects planned for this weekend is “The K’s Family Politeness Plan”. We’ve all been thinking of rude behavior we want stopped and we’re going to develop a chart of some sort. I don’t really like the idea of using housework (like Mama Bear does) to punish rudeness. We try to show cleaning in a positive light so that it’s not seen as drudgery, but rather as a way to improve our life. (It’s really hard for me to see it that way, so I’m trying to make it easier for Jaylene). Our plan is going to involve heart shaped magnets… stay posted!

Copyright: 1985 by Berenstains, Inc.
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0-394-87333-5
Amazon’s Concordance:


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